Villa U21 v Blackburn U21: Young guns look to get back on track
The claret and blues continue their campaign in Group 2 tonight with a clash against Blackburn Rovers at Hinckley [ko 7pm].
It is Villa's second fixture since the groups were reshuffled based on results in the first half of the season.
Villa began phase two of the new league with a 3-1 defeat to Middlesbrough at Bodymoor Heath.
And coach Cowans says his young guns must learn fast because the competition will get harder.
"It is a big challenge," the Villa coach said.
"This is meant to be an easier league after the one we played in before Christmas against Tottenham and Manchester United.
"But Chelsea are in it and they will have some very good players, as will Fulham among others.
"There are going to be some good sides and some good players so we will have to get better."
Cowans admits a poor first half proved costly against Boro a fortnight ago.
He is seeking a big improvement against Rovers tonight.
"In the first half we were very disappointing - they were by far the better side and dominated possession," he added.
"We started to get at them a bit more and create a few chances in the second half but overall it wasn't good enough from our lads."
Tune in from 7pm for live audio and text commentary of tonight's game.
VILLA SQUAD: Benjamin, Bateman, Kinsella, Stieber, Devine, Donacien, Barton, Johnson, Robinson, Crooks, Grealish. Subs: Webb, Barrett, Eminoglu, Lyden, Lewis.
BLACKBURN SQUAD: Urwin, Wylie, Beesley, Jorge, Edwards, Henrique, Payne, Cotton, Forrester, Hanley, Molina, MacLaren, Dilo, Laverty, Pero, Osawe.